The holiday season would appear to be the ideal time for sports to take a little bit of a back seat to other activities, but with 3 of the major sports in full swing at this time of the year, it’s impossible to have that happen. This is the time of year when the NHL seems to really settle into a groove, as the rust has well and truly been shaken off, and the better teams in the league start to apply pressure to those who look as though they are going to struggle to make the playoffs. There are great games on the schedule every single day this week, and it has been tough to narrow it down to just a few. These are the NHL betting games that appeal to me from a viewing and wagering standpoint, but I bet you guys have a few of your own.
Edmonton Oilers at St. Louis Blues – Monday December 19
These are a pair of teams whose numbers are incredibly similar at this stage of the season. They are just one point apart in the overall standings, and are both currently occupying the third spot in their respective decisions. Edmonton is only two points off the pace in the Pacific, and could get back on top with a win here. The Blue are 10 points off the blistering pace being set by the Chicago Blackhawks, but are looking to cement their current playoff standing. Both teams are very good offensively, so expect some fireworks in this one.
New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins – Tuesday December 20
With so many great games on tap for the week, it’s tough to give just one the label of “game of the week,” but it’s hard to argue against this match-up being a very worthy candidate. The Rangers are at the top of the Metropolitan Division with the second-best record in the NHL right now, and then you have the Penguins who are just 2 points off that pace. Both teams have 7 wins apiece in their past 10games, and this could well be a preview of the Eastern Conference Final next year.
Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers – Wednesday December 21
Only 2 games on the schedule for Wednesday, but this match-up is certainly one worth getting excited about. The Flyers finally saw their impressive 10-game winning streak come to an end versus the Dallas Stars, but the confidence gained from that run should have them getting back to winning ways sooner rather than later. The Capitals are a little off the pace that they set for themselves last season, but this is still a very dangerous team indeed.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets – Thursday December 22
The fact that the Penguins have made this list twice is a sign of just how tough their week is going to be. That both of their games are against division rivals tells us that the Metropolitan may have taken over from the Central as the best division in hockey. We have already spoken about what the Penguins are doing this season, and now we need to look at Columbus. The Blue Jackets come into this week on a 9- game winning streak, and they are now just 3 points off the top spot in the division.